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CARER PENSION VERSUS AGE PENSION If a person is over Age Pension age and is caring for someone, they may choose to claim either Carer Payment or Age Pension. Additionally, if they think that one payment may be better suited to their needs than the other, they can lodge a claim to transfer between the two payments. There can be advantages to receiving either Carer Payment or Age Pension, depending on individual circumstances. For example, if a person gets Carer Payment because they are caring for someone who is not their partner, and that person dies, they may be entitled to receive a bereavement payment. They would not be entitled to the bereavement payment if they were getting Age Pension. If someone transfers from Carer Payment to Age Pension they would not be entitled to the annual Carer Supplement of $600 that is paid, in addition to Carer Payment, each year in July.

Australia they can be paid indefinitely (some exceptions may apply). The rate they will be paid may vary after 26 weeks outside Australia. A person can generally be paid Age Pension for a permanent absence outside Australia, subject to certain conditions.

If someone receives Carer Payment and travels outside Australia without the person they care for, their payment can continue for up to 63 days by using the standard respite days to take a break from caring. If they travel temporarily outside Australia with the person that they care for, they may be paid for up to 13 weeks if the amount of care has not changed. A person cannot be paid for a permanent absence from Australia unless they qualify under an International Social Security Agreement.

While there are several differences between Carer Payment and Age Pension, there are also areas that are the same. Carer Payment and Age Pension: • Have the same rate of payment;

If a person receives Age Pension and travels outside

• Have the same income and assets tests (for Carer Payment a special income and asset test may apply to the care receiver); • Are taxable (Carer Payment is taxable once the carer, or the person being cared for, reaches Age Pension age); and • Entitle the user to a Pensioner Concession Card. To find out more about the differences between Carer Payment and Age Pension, call 13 23 00 or visit

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financial planning | SEPTEMBER 2011 | 43

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